James Tanner
Colonel Robert A. Smith

The man who shot John Wilkes Booth

Thomas P. “Boston” Corbett-The Man that Killed John Wilkes Booth was “Mad as a Hatter” - 

Corbett castrated himself with a pair of scissors in order to avoid the temptation of prostitutes. He then ate a meal and went to a prayer meeting, before going for medical treatment.

He disappeared after 1888, but circumstantial evidence suggests that he died in the Great Hinckley Fire in 1894, although this remains impossible to substantiate. Born in England, He became a hatter in Troy, New York. It has been suggested that the fumes of mercury used in the hatter’s trade caused Corbett’s later mental problems.

Corbett shot Booth with his Colt revolver despite Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton’s orders that Booth should be taken alive. Eyewitness Lieutenant Edward Doherty, the officer in charge of the soldiers who captured Booth and Herold, stated that “the bullet struck Booth in the back of the head, about an inch below the spot where his shot had entered the head of Mr. Lincoln.” His spinal cord was severed, and he died two hours later. When asked later why he did it, Corbett answered that “Providence directed me”

Boston Corbett was immediately arrested for violation of his orders, but Stanton later had the charges dropped. Stanton remarked, “The rebel is dead. The patriot lives.” Corbett received his share of the reward money, amounting to $1,653.84

From The Civil War Parlor

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